The effect of a physiotherapy education compared with a non-healthcare education on the attitudes and beliefs of students towards functioning in individuals with back pain: An observational, cross-sectional study

Cormac Ryan, Dervla Murphy, Michael Clark, Andrew Lee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    15 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objectives: To investigate the difference in attitudes: (1) between first and fourth year physiotherapy students towards functioning in individuals with back pain; and (2) between physiotherapy students and non-healthcare students towards functioning in individuals with back pain. Design: Observational, cross-sectional study. Setting: Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, UK. Participants: First year physiotherapy (n=61) and non-healthcare students (n=61), and fourth year physiotherapy (n=62) and non-healthcare students (n=62). Main outcomes: All participants completed the Health Care Providers' Pain and Impairment Relationship Scale (range 15 to 105). This questionnaire measures attitudes towards functioning in individuals with back pain. Results: Fourth year physiotherapy students had more positive attitudes towards functioning in individuals with back pain than first year physiotherapy students [57.4 vs 66.6 (mean difference -9.2, 95% confidence interval -12.2 to -6.1, P<0.01)]. Similarly, fourth year non-healthcare students had more positive attitudes towards functioning in individuals with back pain compared with first year non-healthcare students [69.2 vs 65.3 (mean difference -3.9, 95% confidence interval -7.2 to -0.5, P=0.03)]. Physiotherapy students had more positive attitudes than non-healthcare students in the first year [66.6 vs 69.2 (mean difference -2.6, 95% confidence interval -5.5 to 0.4, P=0.08)] and the fourth year [57.4 vs 65.3 (mean difference -7.9, 95% confidence interval -11.4 to -4.4, P<0.01)] of study. Conclusion: These findings suggest that physiotherapy education brings about positive student attitudes towards functioning in individuals with back pain. This may be partly attributable to receiving a university degree education, but would appear to be further enhanced by specifically receiving a physiotherapy degree. This may facilitate students to become more evidence-based practitioners following qualification.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)144-150
    Number of pages7
    JournalPhysiotherapy
    Volume96
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2010

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